About the Program

For more than 45 years, Washington Week has delivered the most interesting conversation of the week.

Washington Week is the longest-running primetime news & public affairs program on television. The show first aired locally on WETA on February 23, 1967 as Washington Week In Review. A few months later it began broadcasting over Eastern Educational Network, a group of 14 stations located between Washington, D.C. and Maine. In January 1969, it became the first local program to air on the new Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Washington Week features a group of journalists participating in roundtable discussion of major news events. In its early years, Washington Week maintained three regular correspondents — Peter Lisagor, Charles Corddry, and Neil MacNeil — but in 1970 the format changed to three regular reporters and a weekly guest reporter. The program currently maintains a small core group of regular correspondents and a larger group of occasional guests.

WETA's public affairs director, John Davenport, served as Washington Week In Review's first moderator. He was succeeded by former CBS newscaster Lincoln Furber; Max Kampelman, Washington attorney and chief arms control negotiator in the Reagan administration; Robert MacNeil, co-anchor of The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour; veteran journalist Paul Duke, and former NBC national political correspondent Ken Bode. October 1, 1999 marked the arrival of Washington Week's newest moderator, Gwen Ifill. As chief Congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, Ifill had been a frequent Washington Week panelist since 1992, and occasionally served as guest moderator on the show.

Washington Week won a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the 2008 presidential election and its special series of road shows in eight cities across the country. In 1975, the program was presented with the Alfred duPont–Columbia University Award, in recognition of outstanding journalistic achievement. Other awards include a Silver Medal from the International Film and Television Festival of New York; Emmy Awards from the Washington Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and local awards around the country.

Washington Week is currently carried by more than 90 percent of the 306 PBS stations around the country and reaches 97 percent of U.S. television households. Since 1975 the program has been carried by the American  Forces Radio and TV Network on a regular basis to troops throughout the world. Washington Week forged an editorial partnership with National Journal from 2005-2012.

Washington Week's future has been in question only once during its existence. In 1972 the Nixon administration, citing Washington Week specifically, generated intense pressure against public affairs programs on PBS. The deluge of mail from avid viewers saved it.